Emmanuel Afolabi

MSc Data Science & Artificial Intelligence, Class of 2023

Emmanuel Afolabi graduation photo The University of Suffolk ticked all the boxes of most of the criteria I was looking out for in a university. Particularly, the university’s motto – ‘A University for a Changing World’ strikes me the most. The business world is changing, so I wanted to study/learn the tools needed for data analytics to upskill and fit into the changing business landscape. That’s why I could relate to the motto.

The University is also affordable, and its location is close to London where I have a few relatives - I wanted to be close to family. Additionally, the modules for the course also cover most of the significant data science and AI tools, which means they could help me achieve my career goals. I am really glad I chose the university.

I believe that the University’s partnership with local businesses and organisations to provide opportunities to students is one of its main strengths. I benefited from that while studying by taking up part-time opportunities with a few organisations (including Sizewell C, Guided Innovation, and Innovation Labs). Particularly, the Careers, Employability, and Enterprise team did (and still do) a great job in that regard. I think the University deserves more credit than its currently getting.

I think the main strengths of the course (MSc Data Science & Artificial Intelligence) are the module tutors. They were legendary, always willing to listen and ready to help. The module selection is also a strength as it touches on all major data science and AI aspects.

My experience as a student was very interesting, I was practically everywhere. From my first week in the UK till I finished my studies, I was engaged in several activities. I am glad I did, because they helped me enhance my leadership, communication, networking, people management, and problem-solving skills. I volunteered for at least six activities within the University, including my involvement and contribution during the university’s Process Improvement Academic Workshop held in February 2023 where I participated in the design thinking process to improve students’ academic journey. I was the Postgraduate Officer with the SU. These activities and engagements earned me four award nominations at the annual SU awards, and I won three awards out of the four - Outstanding Contribution Award, Inclusivity Champion Award, and Volunteer of the Year Award.

In terms of support services, I utilised the Personal Academic Coach (PAC) scheme and my PAC was particularly amazing, same for most of the module leaders. I had an issue in which I had to defer one of my module assessment submissions, I did not only get guidance from my PAC, module leader, and course leader, my PAC and module leader also provided separate letters of support for my deferral application, and it was approved. I am grateful for that because I probably would have failed or had my grade capped if they didn’t.

My overall student experience has further enhanced my personal and professional development. I now work for the NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol (University Hospitals Bristol and Weston), as a Digital Services Project Manager. The role entails managing all aspects of Digital Services projects from initiation to closure including regular reporting and analysis of progress and performance. I also manage local project teams drawn from Digital Services and wider user populations and operate within a matrix management environment to ensure the successful delivery of the Trust programme and its constituent projects.

My degree really helped me develop the technical skills and abilities required for this role. Part of my work requires making data-driven decisions and managing technology services for the NHS, and I honed many of the skills during my programme.

My leadership and management skills were mostly enhanced through the extracurricular activities I engaged in while studying; I was the Postgraduate Officer with the Students’ Union and was also appointed a member of the University’s International Committee – through these activities, I was responsible for the affairs of all postgraduate students, and I represented their interests. My participation in the International Committee also enhanced my C-Suite skills. These are helpful in my new role.

"My module tutors were legendary, always willing to listen and ready to help."

Emmanuel Afolabi